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Gamers have the right to complain about one thing each year: Publishers overload the holiday season with game releases. With consumers out in full force, it's hard to argue against the logic of releasing games in November. For reasons I'll never grasp, I also find that I am willing to spend more money during this time of year than any other.
But even from my viewpoint where I play games for a living, I don't have the time or funds available to invest into all of the key holiday releases. From this, the holidays end up being the most exciting time of the year, and also the most frustrating time of the year.
In years past, the new year that dawns has been dedicated to catching up on the holiday releases. There always seems to be three of four games that couldn't be squeezed into the holiday rotation. This year, we don't have that luxury. I've jokingly started calling the first three months in 2010 "2009's bonus holiday."
The year kicked off with a resounding bang with two must-play games, Bayonetta and Darksiders, and almost every subsequent week brings another title I've been dying to play. Here's a list of the games I have my eye on. And yes, there are more games releasing during this period than I have listed.
If you compare 2010 with previous years (listed below), the number of releases during this season is increasing. And this breakdown doesn’t take into account downloadable
games, which are also growing in number. Another point of interest
is the influx of major franchise releases represented during this period – such as Bioshock, Mass Effect, Battlefield: Bad Company, Pokémon, etc. With these games in place, the first three months in 2010 reads like a typical November release schedule. Is this a good thing? A bad thing? We'll have to wait until March concludes to find out what comes next. I'll just say this: I'm on my hands and knees praying that we have a slow summer.
Here were the games I thought I should play in 2009. Obviously, some of them ended up being duds, but I had to play them to figure that out. It was a busy three months, but it didn't consist of the heavy-hitters we're seeing lined up for the same three months in 2010.
Here’s how 2008’s three month window looked.
And here’s 2007.
Email the author Andrew Reiner, or follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Game Informer.